Free For All “Nutty” Chocolate Chippers

Posted by on February 28, 2011 | 30 Comments

What I wouldn’t give to spend a day in Jules Shepard’s kitchen. I can only imagine the energy, the creativity, and of course, the delicious food.

When you really take a look at them, you will notice that cookbooks are an insightful reflection of the author. They give you glimpses of their cooking style, their organization, what inspires them, their favorite types of food, and even their health philosophy. And truthfully, after one pass through Free For All Cooking, I knew Jules Shepard was a woman who I wanted to know.

Just one look at my book and my blog will tell you that my personal style is all about adapting recipes for anyone to enjoy. Creating options and learning to be flexible in the kitchen … well, Jules takes this concept to a whole new level.

Free For All Cooking is like an amazing mix and match cookbook. You know those childhood books where you could choose to go to page x or page y for the next portion of the story, and whichever way you chose would take you to a different, but equally entertaining conclusion? Think of this method, but in recipe form, and you will understand Jules’s style. 

For beginners, you can follow the story straight through, making the recipes to a “T,” as there is always a core recipe. If there is a sub you must make for a particular food allergy, Jules has you covered. You can easily follow one of her recommendations; the entire book is gluten-free, but she includes a myriad of dairy-free and egg-free options throughout. Then, for those who like a little adventure and are more comfortable with experimentation, Jules gives you so, so many options with the “choose this or that” approach. Sub this flour for that one, try this egg substitute instead, toss in these add-ins or those ones, or both!

I’m fairly new to gluten-free cooking and baking, and still bake with gluten sometimes too, but Jules’s method helped me to open my mind and not be so afraid to experiment with the different flours and even juggle egg replacers. She reminded me that recipes can be forgiving, and that changing things up may even create a new favorite.

But enough rambling … I’m sure you’re dying to know more about the actual recipes in this cookbook! There are of course many, many baked good recipes, including Buttermilk Biscuits, Pizza Dough, Whole Grain Sandwich Bread, Scones, Danish Pastries, English Muffins, Pop-Tarts, Crusty French Baguette, Challah (pictured below), and the list goes on.

In addition to the Pizza Dough, I’ve marked the Flour Tortillas, Potato Gnocchi, and Coconut Rice to make as soon as possible (we are in the midst of packing things up for a move, so I need to wait before stocking up on more flours and canned goods). But of course, in classic Alisa fashion, I busted out Free For All Cooking to make the Nut Butter Cookies right away …

Yes, I know what you are all thinking, “another nut butter cookie recipe Alisa?” But really, can you ever have too many cookie recipes? I mean, they each have their own nuances, and these were definitely unique cookies. They came out perfectly sweet, but not sugary (Jules gives the option of using a granulated sweetener or liquid – I opted for the liquid), thick, and soft. They simply begged for a tall glass of vanilla almond milk for dunking or a hot cup of tea. Quite different from the chewy PB chocolate chip cookies that I posted for you weeks ago.

For fun, I’m going to share my versions of Jules’s Nut Butter Cookies with you here, but if you want to start having some fun with flours in the kitchen, go get Free For All Cooking!

Jules, let’s do lunch.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chippers

Recipe adapted from Free For All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes The Whole Family Can Enjoy by Jules E. Dowler Shepard.

Do not attempt to eat these cookies without a nice cool or hot beverage nearby. They are very thick and rich! If you find the dough a bit too thick, feel free to add a little bit of milk alternative or water, a teaspoon at a time, to get the right consistency. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Wheat-Free, optionally Vegan, and optionally Nut-Free.

  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, SunButter, or Soy “Nut” Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar (I used honey)
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Mashed Banana (can sub applesauce)
  • 1/4 Cup Potato Starch
  • 1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Oats, ground in a spice / coffee grinder to make oat flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the starches, brown rice flour, oat flour, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the nut butter (or seed or soy butter), honey or agave, banana, and vanilla, until well combined. Add the flour mixture from your other bowl and blend well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Shape dough into balls the size of ping pong balls. Place them on your prepared baking sheet, and either simply flatten and shape them you’re your hands, or use the old peanut butter cookie trick – dip a fork in sugar and use it to press down the dough for that criss-cross top.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they lose their sheen. Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely … or simply eat them.

Makes 16 to 18 cookies

 

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Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

Comments (30)

 

  1. The cookies look amazing as well as the challah! I will definitely check this one out soon!

  2. Evan Thomas says:

    I agree with Katie. These sound fantastic!

  3. Thick, dense cookies are my FAVORITE. These look perfect!! :D

  4. One can never have enough Peanut(insert favorite)-butter cookies. Ever. I love the ingredients on these cookies. And the options given. Banana or not. Liquid or dry sweetener. Almond milk or cup of tea, ;) They really do look great. And I think this is one cookbook I’d really enjoy. I love recipes that can be altered (and bonus points that they are in the book, meaning they still taste good without me trying and failing).

  5. Laurel says:

    You are an evil person. I have every single one of these ingredients including the ground oat flour. I’ve even had her book since Christmas. None of the above has made me dash into the kitchen to bake. Drat. Well okay I have cashew butter but I don’t think that’s going to stop me. Thanks for the review. I was pretty impressed when I leafed through it. My first thought being “Where was this book 4 years ago before I lost my sanity?”

    • alisa says:

      You’re not the first one to call me evil when it comes to baking :)

      This really is a fun book to play around with since it is loaded with options. Do give it a whirl!

  6. These look so good. Jules is a fun gal and very creative at recipe writing. I’m off to see if I have all of these ingredients.

  7. Hmmm. A lot of book reviews going around. When we meet for coffee (if we ever live in the same town) you need to bring all of the nut butter cookies you make. The gf versions, of course.

    I really like Jules. She is so sweet. And, I need to get her cookbook.

    And, that last picture of yours is just mean.

    xo – Tia

    • alisa says:

      If, what do you mean if? I’m going to have a talk with the big guys in your house :)

      I pride myself on being torturous in the dessert temptation department. Just wait … another torturous recipe that you will have to recreate soon!

  8. Hannah says:

    There is no such thing as too many nut butter cookie recipes! I love the idea of mashed banana and chocolate in these ones… even though I almost always rely on the easy-peasy sugar-pb-egg recipe :P

  9. Maggie says:

    Mmmmm, the ingredients in these cookies are yum! I’ve never put a banana in cookies before. That alone is reason enough to try them – oh, and because you said they’re rich! Yes please.

  10. These sure sound scrumptious, I love all the healthy ingredients, a terrific recipe!

  11. This recipe looks awesome! Banana in a cookie? Sounds perfect! I will definitely be making these and there is NO such thing as too many nut-butter cookies. Geez!
    Great book review, Alisa!! I love Jules and this book! ;)

    • alisa says:

      Banana works in every type of recipe, somehow or another. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking too it (get it, peanut butter, sticking? Yeah, I’m reaching).

  12. That cookbook sounds fantastic! I’ll have to check it out.

    There is never too many nut butter cookie recipe. Ever. YUM!

  13. [...] ~ Free for All Cooking—This is the newest cookbook by Jules E. Dowler Shepard. If you missed my review, you can read it here (alert: Coffee Cake recipe). There are not too many reviews on Amazon yet since this book is very new, but they are all 5-stars, and you only have to read the comments on my review post to see how loved both Jules and her recipes are. If you’d like another chance to win Free For All Cooking, head over to Alisa’s blog to enter the giveaway and get the ”Nutty” Chocolate Ch…. [...]

  14. Joanne says:

    A choose your own adventure type cookbook! That sounds awesome.

    And you’re so right about the nut butter cookies. Never too many. These sound awesome!

  15. Hannah says:

    It’s been a while since I made good old peanut butter cookies… This might just be the tempting reminder I needed!

  16. Thanks for the book review! I agree…you can never have too many cookie recipes! They look amazing!

  17. Phenomenal review, Alisa! You’ve captured Jules and her new cookbook perfectly. :-) And, I agree with Tia … that last photo–very hard for a girl to resist! ;-) For the record, I don’t think there can be too many nut butter cookies either.

    Shirley

  18. andrea devon says:

    i think this is the book for me! i am interested in gluten free baking (for fun and for teaching my cooking classes) and this seems like the perfect book to work with. thanks for sharing :)

    • alisa says:

      Definitely! I think you would find it very useful for experimenting with. To note, it isn’t vegan, but there is so much flexibility in the recipes (with loads of egg-free options where needed) that I think there would be tons for you to work from Andrea.

  19. Oh those look so good! No such thing as too many cookies, not ever!

  20. Shannon says:

    umm, i’d like a cookie please :) great review!

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